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Meet the Instructors

Courtney & Brian Williams

Owners, Baldwin Academy of Dance and Voice                     

Courtney Williams developed a passion for dance at a young age while training under an instructor of the Royal Canadian Ballet Company. She continued to dance through high school and college a a dance teacher assistant in Leoti, KS where she was a member of both the cheer and dance teams. While attending Barton County Community College she was on a national dance team that became national champions in the 1998 National Dance Alliance Collegiate Competition in Daytona Beach, FL. Later, Courtney transferred to Baker University where she became a member of the Wildcat cheer and dance teams. She was also a member of a performance group that performed at NBA and NFL games. In 2001, Courtney became the head coach at Baker University and led the cheer and dance teams to a Heart of America Conference Championship, as well as a seventh place finish at the 2004 National Cheerleading Championship. Courtney is an accomplished competition, pageant, and musical choreographer. She is the director of Baldwin Academy of Dance and Voice and coaches the Senior & Junior Dance Troupe.


Brian Williams was a yell leader for the Barton County Community College Cheer Squad. He then joined Baker University’s Cheer Squad before coaching them to Nationals.  He teaches Power Tumbling and helps coach the Tumbling Team. In the past year, he has volunteered as a flag football coach, baseball coach, Cub Scout den leader, Sunday school teacher, and StarBase Assistant.  Brian is also a Major in The Kansas Army National Guard and has served overseas in Egypt. He works as a Sr. Financial Applications Analyst at Black & Veatch. 

Kelley Bethell-Smith is in her 7th year with the Baldwin Academy of Dance and Voice.

She is currently the Director of Voice Studies and conductor of the Academy Choir. Prior to this position, she worked for the Academy as the instructor of the Music And Greatness In Children (MAGIC) program, a parent/tot music enrichment curriculum she designed for

children from birth through early elementary. Kelley began performing, accompanying herself, and composing original music at the age of four, which has resulted in her dedication to provide music opportunities to "kids" of all ages. A few of her musical highlights have included touring nation-ally and internationally with various choral groups, being signed to a Nashville recording contract at 16, and singing the national anthem for the Kansas City Royals. After graduating summa cum laude from Ottawa University in 1999 with a degree in sociology and additional academic focus devoted towards music studies and cultural anthropology, her notable musical post graduate work has included traveling to Russia to assist in the production of a documentary about the preservation of Russian folk music. Since becoming the mom of her daughters, Riley and Bailey, Kelley's work as a vocalist has been primarily directed towards private bookings, singing in church, and composing. Kelley has a Master of Science degree in Academic Advising from Kansas State University, is co-owner of ZZP telecommunications consulting company, and works as a freelance choreographer. She was a varsity basketball and softball player in college, and as a result, loves to teach her students in a manner that nurtures different aspects of their passions in a balanced way. She was recently elected to serve as a member of the USD 348 school board.


Gary L. Keller is the accompa-nist and keyboardist for the Academy Choir. He's been playing piano since the age of 8 and has performed throughout the United State, Germany, Austria, Poland and Italy. He was a National Federation of Music Educators award recipient and a Barkly Scholar from the University of South Dakota. For a number of years, he worked with Dinner

Theatre in Kansas City, MO as well as the Black Hills Playhouse, among others. Through music, Gary has had the opportunity to work with artists who have performed with the Metropolitan Opera as well as Broadway headliners. He also instructed children's choirs and coached competitive ensembles. Currently, Gary serves as the organist and Worship Arts Director at Baldwin City's First United Methodist Church and an accompanist for the Ottawa school district. Gary believes that music is a great and glorious gift from God, and he loves working with and

encouraging young performers!


Lori Santana teaches ballet,

Modern and Strength Training. She received her BA in Dance from the University of Kansas. Lori has danced in New York with the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater and the Summerset Ballet. Lori has a dog/child named Loki that she is rarely seen without. She also likes travel, reading and cross stitching. 

  Ashley Brittinghamis a graduate of the University of Oklahoma, BFA '02 and was a semi-finalist in the 2002 USA International Ballet Competition where she was one of 22 dancers representing the United States. Mary Margaret Holt, director of the School of Dance at OU and artistic director of Oklahoma Festival Ballet, coached her for the event. Ashley is the first recipient of the Indian Ballerina Scholarship at OU. She is also an awardee of the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts in 2000. She has studied on scholarship with North Central Ballet in Fort Worth, City Ballet of Houston and American Ballet Theatre in New York.  Ashley has danced with the Oklahoma Festival Ballet and Tulsa Ballet where she danced many leading roles including Balanchine's Valse Fantaisie, The Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, Giselle, La Sylphide, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Lila York's Celts, Val Caniparoli's Torque, Lady of the Camelias and Lamberena, Stanton Welch's Bruiser, and Jerome Robbins' Fancy Free among many others. With Tulsa Ballet, she was able to dance on tour in many different cities across the United States as well as in Europe. Since moving to Kansas she has taught as adjunct faculty with Friends University and as a guest teacher with Wichita State University. She now lives in Baldwin City, KS with her husband Brant and children, Layne, Blake, Gavin and Bowen. Besides dancing Ashley is a full time mom and loves spending time playing with her children. 

Radie Keller started dancing at the age of 5 at Stacy's Dance Studio. While there, she studied Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Hip Hop, Modern, and Tumbling. She was part of the Tap and Jazz Company for 2 years. At the age 13 she started to focus on Ballet, Pointe, and Pas de Deux at American Dance Center in Overland Park. She was part of Kansas Regional Ballet Company for one year before the ownership changed, and than was part of American Youth Ballet for 3 years. She has played roles such as the Columbine doll and Milton in The Nutcracker, the Spanish princess and the one of the four little swans in Swan Lake, the Duck in Peter and the Wolf, Tweedle Dee in Alice in Wonderland, and much more. She graduated from Bald-win High School in 2013 and now attends Washburn University in Topeka where she is part of the Dancing Blues. She is a Kinesiology major and hopes to be a physical therapist someday. She is very involved in her sorority,

Alpha Phi and loves to ride her horse in her spare time. 

Courtney McLane graduated from Baker University. She started dancing at the age of 4 and has been dancing ever since. During that time she competed for 4 years and was part of the Baldwin City Tap and Jazz Company for 6 years. Courtney danced the lead role in Cinderella at Stacy's Dance Studio. She also has won several awards while competing in dance. She has taught at Baldwin Academy of Dance for 6 years. Courtney teaches all levels of Tap and a combo class. She has 2 brothers and 1 sister. Courtney's interests include music, Ancient Egyptian History, Hawaii, traveling, microbiology, food, crafts, shoes, sleep and teaching these amazing dancers! 

Angela Murray teaches

Tap and Jazz and coaches

Mini-Troupe. She holds a BBA & MBA from the University of Texas Arlington and an MSED and PhD in Educational Psychology & Research from the University of Kansas. Angela danced with and served as president of the Dance Ensemble at the University of Texas Arling-

ton and taught tap there.  She owned a dance studio in Texas for 10 years and taught for Blue Valley Recrea-tion for three.  Angela's daughter, Amelia, dances and teaches at Baldwin Academy of Dance and Voice, is on the Baldwin Bulldog Dance Team and is a member of Ballet Midwest in Topeka.  Her son, Duncan, attends Missouri University of Science & Technology, and her husband, Robert, works for Garmin and is a pilot. Angela is celebrating a lucky 13 years of teaching dance in Baldwin this year! 


Jessica Newman has been dancing for eleven years and has completed her BA in dance from the University of Kansas. She has extensive training in classical ballet from the State Ballet of Missouri and other training in Jazz, Modern and Middle Eastern dance. She has held lead roles and assisted with choreography in performances at the Lied Center, Nelson Atkins Museum of Art and at KU. Jessica has suc-

cessfully produced creative dance programs for children in the Lawrence and Baldwin areas.


Mara Waltz-coming soon!


Linda Niehoff is responsible for many of the photographs seen on the Academy website as well on the walls of our studio. She's also a dance mom. Her daughter, Emma, is a senior this year and

her son, Josiah, is in Tumbling. Linda started out just taking pictures of her kids from the wings during recital. From there it grew into capturing the  entire performance, taking Troupe and Team Portraits and designing recital programs. Linda also owns her own portrait photography business. She first learned photography in the darkroom and has over 25 years of experience. In her spare time she enjoys writing, reading, and hiking. Find out more about her online:

Katrina Farrow-Coming Soon

Baylee Bartgis-Coming Soon

Cindy Trowbridge-Office Manager


Student Teachers:

Rachel Lewis

Amelia Murray

Amanda Trowbridge

Rachel Masrud

Rebecca Fritche